Last weekend war between Ethiopia and Eritrea broke out again in the border area. Both sides claim victory – the measure of it being the number of dead and wounded soldiers. No independent third party reported accurate figures so far. What is certain is that lives are lost on both sides.
The two countries fought a bitter two years war in the years between 1998 and 2000 which caused the deaths about 80,000 soldiers on both sides. Following the war, the two countries headed to arbitration process. The result was that the border town of Badme – which allegedly caused the war – was given to Eritrea. Yet, the Ethiopian government did not withdraw troops from the area since the end of the conflict in 2000. The situation led to no-peace – no-war state between the two countries for more than 16 years now.
Who started the war this time around over the weekend? Eritrea says Ethiopia launched attack and that Eritrea was drawn to it so as to defend itself. On the other hand, Ethiopia claims that it is Eritrea who started the war. Some sources refer to Ethiopia’s government statements locally to suggest that it was in fact Ethiopia that started the war.
Kenyan Television Network, KTN, invited Beyene Ree’som, Eritrean ambassador to Kenya and Dina Mufti,Ethiopian ambassador to Kenya, to share their stories over the recent clash. Their appearance in the news room was rather tense; they almost fought. They are over emotional and barely addressed the questions.